Thank you for contacting me about animal testing.
As an animal lover, I am deeply concerned over the treatment of animals who are used in scientific research. I am proud of Britain's long tradition of kindness to animals and preventing and punishing cruelty to them. The carefully regulated use of animals in scientific research remains a vital tool in improving the understanding of how biological systems work and in the development of safe new medicines, treatments, and technologies.
Animals should only be used when there is no practicable alternative and I welcome the support and funding for the development and dissemination of techniques that replace, reduce, and refine the use of animals in research (the so-called "Three Rs"). Without animal testing, it's likely that a large number of potentially dangerous new medicines would be tested on healthy human volunteers and patients in clinical trials. However, encouraging new cutting-edge approaches to science will ensure that standards of animal welfare are improved.
Advances in biomedical science and technologies are all providing new opportunities to reduce reliance on the use of animals in research. As part of this, a Non-animal Technologies Road map for the UK has been produced which offers an approach for the UK to develop, exploit and deploy new non-animal technologies for long-term economic and societal benefit.
Ultimately, however, EU and UK law requires safety testing on animals before human trials for new medicines can begin and I believe animal research still plays an important role in providing vital safety information for potential new medicines.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
EDWARD LEIGH MP